Greg Louganis is auctioning three of his five Olympic medals in an effort to fund the Damien Center, Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS services center.
The three medals up for auction are:
- 1976 silver medal for 10-meter platform
- 1984 gold medal for 3-meter springboard
- 1988 gold medal for 10-meter platform
“The medals, they’re in the history books,” Louganis said. “Instead of holding on to them, I’m aiming to share my piece of Olympic history with collectors; together, we can help the Damien Center and its community to grow and thrive.”
Louganis hopes to name two areas of the Damien Center for two people dear to him: his mother, Frances Louganis; and Ryan White, the teenager who died of AIDS in the 1990 and brought so much compassion and attention to the cause.
It was the 3-meter springboard in 1988 when Louganis famously hit his head on the board, only to come back and win gold. Louganis gave that gold medal to White’s mother after Ryan died. It’s currently in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Louganis was one of the first high-profile athletes to come out publicly as gay when he came out publicly at the 1994 Gay Games. A year later he surprised many when he announced he had HIV.
Not only has he been a trailblazer for LGBT people, but he is considered by many the greatest diver in the sport’s history. While he has four Olympic golds and a silver, he would have more if President Jimmy Carter had not mandated a U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games. Louganis has also been a coach since his retirement from competition.
If you want one of these pieces of history, medals of the greatest athlete in a sport’s history aren’t inexpensive. Currently the bid for the silver medal is $350k, and the two golds are $750k. With the medals come other pieces of the medal’s history, like Lougnanis’ swimsuit and a signed poster.